Airbnb Don’t Sit Well With Me.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) New Orleans is clearly a hub for tourism. It is home to the most festivals in the nation. There is always something going on that will draw a crowd needing somewhere to stay.  However, there are citizens of New Orleans that is finding more and more difficult to find suitable housing within Orleans Parish. Some say it’s the effects of the housing market, and though that does play a part, others will also point to short term leases and Airbnb.  This doesn’t sit well with many residents that see short term rentals and a part of the attempt to gentrify New Orleans and it’s trying to over take neighborhoods that once saw a different population.

It is sad to see so much of the housing that is needed for residents be used as short term rentals, and by people that aren’t from New Orleans…and some don’t visit often. Something has to give, unfortunately it doesn’t feel like the leadership in New Orleans seems to understand why situations like Airbnb is a problem. In the minds of some it might sound like a great idea because, due to tourism, there is always a need for lodging. However, the strength of the tourism, like why people want to visit New Orleans, is only as strong as the presence of the locals. That is what’s at risk.

If one has been paying attention the rise of short term rentals has sored on the back end of Katrina, and it assists in making it hard for people from New Orleans to live in their city. This isn’t happening all over the city, but it is very noticeable in neighborhoods that were one predominately black. Imagine coming back to a place where your family has lived for generations, and now you seemed to be cut off from that narrative. The rent, where you can find it, is sky high and in most cases the owners are not from the area at all. When will the city leadership realize this is a very serious problem?

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There are other cities, such as Atlanta, that have recently put restrictions in place regarding short term rentals. New Orleans needs to strongly consider doing the same. Limit how many short term rentals can be had, and consider restricting who can own them. Everything can’t be based on out of town ownership. New Orleans is not other cities and this method of dealing with the housing crisis is not working. As a matter of fact, this is mis managing the housing crisis.

If you are coming to New Orleans to visit, I strongly suggest hotels and Bed & Breakfast locations. Please consider them before the Airbnb situations. Supporting Airbnb’s is a kin to supporting natives not being able to reside in their city. In the long term it could also be supporting the gentrification of a city that simply shouldn’t have to endure such hardship. As I stated earlier, this is city is only as good as the culture it thrives upon…and the locals are necessary for said culture to continue. Those that keep the culture should not be relegated to slum housing, slum lords, and outrages rent & mortgages because those from out of town, and immediate transplants feel entitled to this city without any obligation to its culture.

This has to stop, and while the Mayor and City Council is busy with whatever is on their plate, they should be working to remedy this matter. Housing, or lack thereof due to short term rentals, should not stop natives from coming home. One can only wonder if that’s the goal…I most certainly hope it is not.

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Staff Writer; Chelle’ St James

May also connect with this sister via Twitter; ChelleStJames.